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Aircraft With Folding Wings?  
User currently offlineMr Spaceman From Canada, joined Mar 2001, 2787 posts, RR: 8
Posted (13 years 10 months 5 days 4 hours ago) and read 9936 times:

Hi guys.

I have a few questions about aircraft with the ability to fold their wings.

I understand that this feature is found exclusively (I think) on aircraft that land on aircraft carriers for the purpose of allowing more space on the carrier's deck.

My main question is about fuel that remains in the folding part of the wing.

Do the pilots have to transfere or dump fuel from the folding part of the wing to other tanks due to the weight of the fuel and thus the extra strain on the hinge mechanism (which I assume is hydraulic) before the wings are folded back?

Also, what aircraft with folding wings has the longest wingspan? Could it be the E-2 Hawkeye?

Finally, how do the wing locks work on these types of aircraft? I've always wondered about this, ever since my father told me about a scenic flight he was going on as a passenger in an Avenger. He was in the Canadian Navy Reserve back in the 1950's, and as the pilot was just about to rotate off the runway at CFB Toronto (Downsview Airbase), an alarm went off in their headsets to warn them that a lock had come lose or broke. My dad said he looked at the left wing and could see it bouncing up and down, it was also starting to fold. Thank God for the ringing alarm...or they could have been killed! Plus I wouldn't be here to ask these questions!

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Chris  Smile

"Just a minute while I re-invent myself"
8 replies: All unread, jump to last
User currently offlinePacificjourney From New Zealand, joined Jul 2001, 2741 posts, RR: 7
Reply 1, posted (13 years 10 months 4 days 8 hours ago) and read 9815 times:

Good questions spaceman. I have no answers but actually a further question.

Some - possibly all these days - planes have their wings folded by some internal hydraulics. My question is why ?

Why bother with having some mechanism on board the plane, with it's added weight and complexity when presumably the plane will land somewhere with crew who could do the job just as well manually. Is it something to do with turn-around times or something of that nature ?

" Help, help ... I'm being oppressed ... "
User currently offlineFredT From United Kingdom, joined Feb 2002, 2185 posts, RR: 26
Reply 2, posted (13 years 10 months 4 days 3 hours ago) and read 9798 times:

would YOU want to be the poor sod who was to lift the wing manually?  Smile

Waiting for a ground crew to get to the aircraft and perform the operation would also take some time - during which the aircraft would be blocking the deck of the carrier.


I thought I was doing good trying to avoid those airport hotels... and look at me now.
User currently offlineMr Spaceman From Canada, joined Mar 2001, 2787 posts, RR: 8
Reply 3, posted (13 years 10 months 3 days 4 hours ago) and read 9754 times:

Hi guys.

Thanks for your replies.

Regarding my question about whether or not it is nessesary to remove fuel from the part of the wing that's going to be folded back, before it's folded....does anyone know if this is a required procedure or not? A question of pure curiosity.

If there is still a fully loaded fuel tank/tanks in the folded part of the wings, then the mechanisms (is that a word?) in the hinge assembly must be mighty strong....stronger than they look.

Any info about how these aircraft fold their wings would be great.

Thanks for the input Pacificjourney and FredT.

Chris  Smile

"Just a minute while I re-invent myself"
User currently offline2912n From United States of America, joined Oct 2001, 2013 posts, RR: 7
Reply 4, posted (13 years 10 months 3 days ago) and read 9734 times:

I think that in many of the a/c with folding wings the fuel cells are inboard of the fold junction, keeping the weight that moves to a minimum.

User currently offlineSpacepope From Vatican City, joined Dec 1999, 3390 posts, RR: 1
Reply 5, posted (13 years 10 months 2 days 20 hours ago) and read 9747 times:

I believe that the hinges are exceptionally strong, as I seem to remember seeing Hornets with wings folded, Sidewinders still on the launch rails. I'd suggest checking cutaway views of various aircraft to settle this once and for all. I have ones from the A-7 and F-4 around here somewhere, but can't seem to find them.

On the whole, carrier aircraft are overbuilt in general. My girlfriends father was telling me the other day about how great the F-8 crusader was, and how they once launched one off of a carrier with the wings folded. The thing managed to get airborne, circle back and land safely. Don't try that with a C-2.


The last of the famous international playboys
User currently offlineSchreiner From Netherlands, joined Oct 2001, 960 posts, RR: 2
Reply 6, posted (13 years 10 months 1 day 7 hours ago) and read 9687 times:

SPACEPOPE: Never heard that story of the launching with wings folded. I can hardly believe it. Althought it could be done. The percentage of folding on a crusader is alot less then on a C-2.


Soaring the internet...
User currently offlineJ.mo From United States of America, joined Feb 2002, 671 posts, RR: 0
Reply 7, posted (13 years 10 months 1 day 1 hour ago) and read 9693 times:

As far as the largest plane with the ability to fold it's wings...Boeing 777. It was offered as an option when the plane began production. I don't know of anybody that ordered it. Anyway, back to military aircraft.

What is the difference between Fighter pilots and God? God never thought he was a fighter pilot.
User currently offlineMr Spaceman From Canada, joined Mar 2001, 2787 posts, RR: 8
Reply 8, posted (13 years 9 months 4 weeks 6 hours ago) and read 9619 times:

Thanks for your replies guys.

If these aircraft have fuel in the folded part of their wings, whether before a carrier launch or after a recovery, well, then those hinges must be dam strong!

Take Care,

Chris  Smile

"Just a minute while I re-invent myself"
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